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Surviving Winter On Your Motorcycle

  Posted at 06:31:50 PM
  File under  Gadgets Ideas Travel
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

Just because it's winter, doesn't mean you can't take out your motorcycle for a ride. Unless of course you're facing really deep snow or ice, just because it's cold, go and ride!

Snow inside car

There are a couple of things you can do to keep warm on your motorcycle. Obviously dressing up warmly is a must, but there are a lot of gadgets and accessories that you can obtain that will help you in your endeavor to keep warm and still be able to ride.

Let's have a look at some of them:

BMW Underwear

BMW (and others) makes some excellent underwear that will keep you warm. They have both shirts and Long Johns. I've used these in very cold weather, and they are heaven sent.

The only note, you've got to put them on when you are warm, not put them on when you're cold, hoping to heat up. The clothing keeps your temperature, so if you're cold, you'll remain cold....

Cost: Around US$69.00

Click here for more information Open link in a new window

Helmet Balaclava
Head - Balaclava

It goes without saying that you're going to need a helmet, even for those places that helmets are optional. But a helmet is often not enough, since cold air will seep into the helmet and slowly start making you colder and colder.

A Balaclava will make life a lot easier, but make sure you get one that's not too thick. Ski balaclavas are often to thick and will cause problems when you put on your helmet.

You've got them in silk, so they fit nicely and snugly, and will keep you warm, or thin wool is appropriate as well.

Price: around US$15.00

Click here for more information Open link in a new window

There are also electrically heated ones on the market, but IMHOIn My Humble Opinion, that's over the top unless you're riding in the North Pole.

Neck & Chest

Your neck and chest will get cold air. Cold air seeps through the gap between the helmet and jacket.

You can get neck & chest padding that will isolate the cold air from that area. They are very effective, and not expensive.

Cost: Around US$20.00

Click here for an example Open link in a new window

Sidi Toasters

You're feet are going to get cold, not matter how many socks you put on, and no matter how good your boots are. There are several electrically operated heated foot pads available.

Sidi offer a wireless heated foot pad. You "charge" the pad by plugging it into the mains at home. Once the battery is loaded, you place them in your boots and put the boots on.

The pads are remotely operated, i.e., you have a remote control that allows you to make them warmer. Once you've reached the ideal temperature, the Sidi keeps your feet at the desired degrees.

They're not cheap. Count about US$300.

Click here for more information Open link in a new window

ActivHeat vest
Electrically Heated Vests

Let's face it. When riding in very cold weather you really need to keep warm. It's not a sissy thing, it's survival. When you get cold, you loose your concentration and focus, and before you know it, you've crashed. Riding a motorcycle also means you can't take a hot water bottle, there just isn't enough space...

You can of course buy a purpose built electrically heated vest, but they are expensive, and you can't use it during the summer. Alternatively, you can buy a vest that is placed under your normal motorcycle jacket, which is either connected to your motorcycle mains, or is battery operated.

For example, the ActivHeat heated vest is battery operated, and the battery will last a continuous 5 hours before requiring a recharge. If you need to ride for more than 5 hours, you'll need a second battery. It's not cheap, but very practical. A 2 battery pack vest will set you back some US$180.

Click here for more information Open link in a new window

Gerbing heated liner
If you prefer no battery, then you'll need to plug yourself in. Gerbing have several liners that will slip into your motorcycle jacket, and after plugging it in to the 12V plug of your motorcycle, you'll be warm for as long as you ride.

The liner is rain proof, so even if it rains, you don't have to worry about frying on your bike. But you'll need to watch out for the power usage. They typically use 6.4 amps and 77 watts of power, so better check that your motorcycle can handle it. You don't want to push your motorcycle...

It's not cheap, but very effective. Price: US$199.

Click here for more information Open link in a new window

Grabber Heat Pads for Hands
Alternative Heating

You can go a cheaper route. There are heat pads on the market for your feet, hands and body. Most are chemical components that when crushed together start a "nuclear" reaction, i.e., they heat up. Very effective, and can last for hours. But..... they run out, getting colder and colder. Then you need to take your shoes, gloves and/or jacket off, to replace them.

You've also got reusable pads, that require you to boil or microwave, but they last usually less than an hour.

Using pads are useful for short distances, and they are cheaper (unless you ride a lot).

For example, Grabber hand warmers cost US$46 for 10 pads
(click here for more info Open link in a new window)

They also exist for toes and feet.

TucanoUrbano Termoscud Apron

Aprons are all the rage in Europe. Most professional riders use them, winter or summer. They are a very effective way of keeping the cold and rain from your body.

Several manufacturers exist {link}. Cost: between US$100-200. It's maybe not the prettiest solution, but it's very practical.

Click here for an example of TucacoUrbano Open link in a new window

Not To Forget

If you plan to ride in the cold weather, don't forget that if your motorcycle is water cooled, to put anti-freeze in the cooling system. You can also place heated handlebar grips, heated seats and other really expensive stuff, but they serve no purpose in the summer, so why spend the money for an occasional joy ride.


So, if you're not put off with all the stuff you need to get, all the gear you need to charge up, or all the leads you've got to fix on your motorcycle, go out and have fun.

And when you ask me what I have (I do regularly need to go out on my bike in the cold weather), I have heated handlebar grips on the BMW, BMW thermal underwear, silk balaclava, woollen neck protector, silk under gloves, thermal sock (and sometimes heated pads) and a very thick and thermal protected leather jacket.

And if you don't want all this, then your only other solution is:

Winter riding

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